Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Thoughtful Review of Sheer Panic

One thing I can always count on from my Argentinian writer friend, Marta Merajver is that she sees the true and deeply seated meaning of my writing. Sometimes I refer to my works as 'fiction with a conscience' because there is always a message about the ills of society in them, although it's not always clear. Thank you so much, Marta!

I was thrilled to get this review for my novella, Sheer Panic.


A young woman who leads a quite ordinary, unadventurous life suddenly finds herself in the middle of a nightmare. Someone is stalking her, and she has good reason to suspect four men. The novel unravels at a brisk pace to a surprising end.
  
If read lightly, Sheer Panic could be classified as a thriller. However, it brushes on profound contemporary issues. Ms. Jackson does not spell them out for you; it’s up to the reader to stop at the landmarks and reflect. In the 21st Century, women seem to be as helpless as ever before when it comes to men’s brutality. Social networks can be as dangerous as weapons and even more effective. Children are caught in a revolving door that fails to separate innocence from the complexities of adult life, which they experience vicariously but do not understand. There is much more, of course.

   Readers that enjoy an appealing subject matter, true to life characters, and terse language will appreciate this novel as much as I did. 

Sheer Panic is available from Amazon at 99c.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Scorpio's Sting -- Trish Jackson. The story behind the story

Woohoo! I finally completed the second edit of Scorpio's Sting and will be able to send it to my editor, Caroline on Monday. I'm thrilled with the way it's turned out. It's changed a lot since I first submitted it, but I think with her help, we've tied up all the loose ends and filled the holes now.


Scorpio's Sting is about a Drew McBain's VMF System, which is designed to help shore up the US borders and stop the human and drug trafficking. The problem Drew comes up against is the fact that the Cartel that does business on the Arizona and California borders doesn't like the idea of their operations being curbed.

Neelie Nelson is an agent with ICE--Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and she has to handle human trafficking. She and Drew meet in unusual circumstances and find that they have a common goal.

Drew is forced to seek help from the very people he is going to prevent from crossing our borders--the illegal immigrants.

The story came into my mind one afternoon when my friend and co-worker in Young, Arizona received a panicked call from her brother. He had an illegal Mexican working for him, as many people do in Arizona and California. Let's call him Juan, and he had a big problem. He had paid the drug kingpin to bring his wife over the border. The men who escort illegals are called 'coyotes', and the coyote had crossed the border with her, but was now demanding another $3,000.00 or he would abandon her in an undisclosed location in the desert with no water or food. My friend's brother had to help him find $3,000.00 in a hurry. They were only given 24 hours. As far as I am aware, they were able to scrape up the money and the story had a happy ending, but ever since that day my heart has gone out to those whose story doesn't end in joy, and that's what his book is about.

Here's an excerpt from the first chapter:


CHAPTER 1

Drew McBain's eyes opened wide, and before he could do anything to stop her, a smoking hot blonde filled his arms. "Watch it!" he said.
"Oh no, I'm so sorry," she yelped.
"You should look where you're going." She smelled good, and he had just groped a delectable, firm breast. "I didn't mean to . . . "
She ran her tongue over her lower lip, and for a moment their eyes met. "I'm sorry, again." She held up the cell phone she had been checking. "My bad.  I'm late for work."
He released his hold on her, and watched her ass until she disappeared into the darkness. He blew out air, and headed into the Sand Swamp bar, where he had arranged to meet his friend, Dan Lemar after work, for a beer. 
"You missed Neelie," Dan said. "I told you not to be late."
Drew slid onto a stool and the bartender pushed an icy mug of beer over the glossy counter to him. He took a long swallow, and stared at the doorway. "She left already?"
"Yup. Special Agent Cornelia Nelson. She's as hot as a summer revival. If I wasn't married . . ." Dan ran a hand through his short hair. "You might have even passed her on your way in."
"I wasn't really looking at anyone except the blonde who ran into me. What are the odds that would be her? What's she doing in San Diego anyhow? Doesn't she live in Arizona?" She didn't act like she was in law enforcement, but it's possible that was her.
"Yeah. She's working undercover here in San Diego on some secret assignment. We often have to work together as you know, and I invited her for a drink.  As it turned out, she couldn't drink any alcohol because she had to go do whatever it is she does. I was hoping you'd be on time so I could introduce her to you. She had to leave in a hurry."
"Blond, about so high?" Drew held his hand palm down. "Green eyes?"
Dan nodded. "Yup. That was Neelie."
"How long's she gonna be in town?"
Dan grinned. "Let me guess. You want me to arrange another meeting."
If she's the blonde, sure. "Can you?" He could still picture every detail of the unexpected incident. The way she looked, the way she smelled, and the delectable hormone-jerking feel of her breast in his hand. He could use more time with her.
"I'll see what I can do. It'll depend on her work schedule. How are things going with that contraption you’re manufacturing? With all these kids being sent alone from Mexico across our borders we need it like yesterday. And if it can put a dent in the drug trade that's an added bonus.”
 Drew nodded. "The federal government is taking the VMF System seriously at last. I'm meeting with a Specialist from the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection Office of Procurement in a couple of weeks."
"I’ll never understand how the thing works." Dan took a long drink of his beer.
"It's not easy to explain the VMF System because there are multiple elements to it. You have to understand quantum physics, and geophysics, not to mention UAV or drone technology." Drew signaled for more drinks and waited while the bartender poured two draft beers from the taps and slid them over the counter.
"I mean, a virtual mine field. What is that? It sounds like sci-fi to me, or a case of bullshit baffles brains."
Drew took a sip, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and smiled at Dan's description. "The Virtual Mine Field is real. Anyone who steps within range of the sensors will get kicked back the way he came."
"But he won't get hurt? In other words, it's not gonna deliver anything close to a fatal jolt of electricity."
"No. That's the big selling point. Nobody wants to electrify the fences on the borders because they don’t want a whole bunch of dead people to deal with, like what happens in other parts of the world. And now with the rash of kids . . .This'll knock them over, but no normal, healthy person will get hurt."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




Coming soon. . . . Still waiting for the final cover from the wonderful artists at Soul Mate Publishing, The one on this page is a temp one I made myself.





Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Story Behind Call Me Daddy by Kelly Stone Gamble

I'm excited to have author Kelly Stone Gamble on my blog, with the story of how she came up with the ideas for her second novel,  Call Me Daddy, which is available for pre-order on Amazon and due to be released this, the first week of October. Here it is in her own words:


In the past two years, I have had the opportunity to reconnect with cousins that I haven't been around since childhood. Like most families, we are an interesting bunch, each with our own oddities, all with strong opinions, and none with the luxury of saying we had 'easy childhoods'. But what has bound us together is our understanding of the challenges we each faced, in part because of our parents choices: their successes and their mistakes.

As children, we never truly know our parents as individuals, and I would say that even as we get older, we sometimes have a difficult time thinking about them as young adults, making choices, living their lives as individuals, not necessarily as parents. But the choices parents make for their own lives can and do affect their children and sometimes, those effects aren't exactly pleasant. 

In my novel, Call Me Daddy, I wanted to explore the idea of how the actions of parents can weigh heavily on their children, long after the parent is gone. 

Cass Adams is pregnant, and she fears passing along the mental illness that she and her mother suffer from to her baby. The father of her child, Clay, has his own issues, as he tries to come to grips with the recent return of his father, who left when Clay was five years old, and is now in need of his help. Each must find a way to accept who they are and further make a commitment to raise their child in the best way they can---without damaging her/him too much.

My cast of characters are a zany bunch, each with their own Mommy/Daddy issues, who will hopefully make readers laugh and will certainly make them think. Call Me Daddy is a story of family, the secrets they keep, and to what lengths someone would go to protect them. It is a sequel to my first novel, They Call Me Crazy, but can be read as a standalone novel.

As for the cousins and me, we all turned out just fine, because of, or despite our parents, depending on how you look at it. We get together as often as we can now and have decided we are going to be a family. We laugh together, we support each other, and we don't dwell on the past. And hopefully, we aren't damaging our own children too much.

~*~

Kelly Stone Gamble is an Instructor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and her work has appeared in a variety of publications. Her interests are as diverse as her writing. She is at home fishing on a river, riding horses in the mountains, reading on a beach, hiking through the desert or playing pirate with her friends.


Links:  

Website- www.kstonegamble.com

Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/Kelly-Stone-Gamble/e/B00JIPDBMW

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/KStoneGamble/

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9230926.Kelly_Stone_Gamble

Twitter- https://twitter.com/KellySGamble


Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Radio Murders by Kelly Marshall

Attention crime readers. Here's an author whose books you might want to get to know, including The Radio Murders, which has just been re-released. Here is her story behind the story.


Writing is a lonely profession. We authors often sit up late in the night while our spouses, children and, in my case, grandchild have all gone to bed. Frequently tired after a day full of activity, it’s the quiet time when we can think, imagine, and write without interruption. It was my desire to connect with my reader that prompted me to start a blog. I fought the idea for some time. I kept thinking, how in the world will I ever find the time to add one more thing to my exploding schedule? My decision to write a blog was prompted by that need to reach out and connect with those individuals who inspire me and share their thoughts with me—just like they did on my radio shows.

It’s been a few years since I sat at a microphone and communicated with listeners on my radio show Lights Out in Seattle. Back then I worked for KLSY for several years. Another radio station wined and dined me and wooed me away, and I went to work for Warm 106.9, also in Seattle. Management named my new show Love Songs. I thoroughly enjoyed the magic of nighttime radio. The lights in the studio would be soft and low; I could look through my studio windows and see the city lights sparkling in the dark waters of Puget Sound. The real magic though was the conversations with my listeners. I treasured their stories of love and devotion and yes, even their tales of painful losses. One conversation sticks in my mind with crystal clarity. The caller was from Vancouver, BC. Her family had been in a horrific car accident that night and she was waiting to hear whether they were going to live or die. She called my show to ask for support from my Lights Out listeners. I was humbled that she thought of us to help her through her desperation.

I left radio in 2002 and decided to get a “real” job. You know, one of those with fantastic benefits. It was a difficult transition because I missed the heartfelt sharing I had in radio. I decided to write in my spare time to ease some of the boredom I felt with the job that paid my bills. From the time I could barely read, I had a feeling I would communicate in the world with the written word. I started writing and haven’t stopped. I have written four novels: Black Phoenix, an apocalyptic thriller, The Chair, a sweet romance for the mature set, The Radio Murders, the first in a series of crime mysteries set in Seattle, and 6 White Roses, the second in that series. Currently, I am very close to finishing the third Seattle murder mystery, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die.

I recently changed publishers and am very pleased to announce that I am now with White Bird Publishing. The transition from one publisher to another can be complicated, so all of my books had to be taken off the Internet and reformatted. The freshly edited, new edition of The Radio Murders debuts August 16th.



Kelly's Bio:
I always thought I would communicate in the world as a writer. As a child I was a voracious reader, and knew someday I would pen a great novel. It was my calling. But life sometimes takes left turns and I went to broadcasting school instead of a four-year college.  I did spent thirty years having fun, spinning records, interviewing people, doing love song dedications. I had a ball until…Congress passed a law in 1996 allowing broadcast corporations to own multiple radio stations in one market. Well, the gobbling began and soon behemoths corporations ate up radio stations like locusts in a wheat field. Radio announcers like me were axed on bloody Fridays with surgical precision. I left radio, went to work for the US Federal Government, and in my private hours, began doing what I really loved doing—writing.  
Thank you for the gift of your time. I look forward to hearing from you.


Here's the link to Amazon and click here for Kelly's blog.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Alter Ego by Tory Allyn

I'm happy to feature this suspense thriller this week. It looks like a book I'm going to have to read.


At Granite’s Mill, deep in the backwoods of Virginia, a body is discovered with unusual physical characteristics. By morning, the media erupts over a headline in a local newspaper, ‘The Son of Virginia’s Governor is Missing’. 


 FBI Special Agent Jack Stanwick is handed the case. Realizing he’ll have to go outside the brethren, Jack marshals the help of an old friend, Raymond Davenport, who hung a sign on a renovated brownstone in Washington, DC, with the verbiage: Davenport Detective Agency. To assist him, he hired three former police officers from various precincts, who like himself, blew the whistle on dirty cops only to deal with the fervent hostility from the brotherhood.

 With the investigation under way, the detectives stumble upon a group of men known as M.A.G.O.C., who’re muddled in a governmental conspiracy involving a top-ranking official at the White House. With their many resources, they dig further and unearth Prescott Chemicals. Years earlier, the owner and his lead chemist had stolen an elixir from the Mayapo natives of the Amazon rainforest and have transformed it into a formula to be used in a congressional scheme. 

When the detectives accidently come into contact with the new formulation, something undesirable happens to one of them, altering his life forever.

Here's where to buy it: Alter Ego

Tory Allyn currently resides in Upstate New York. Although born in Syracuse, he was raised in the quaint town of Baldwinsville with his brother and two sisters, who drove him into becoming the zany person he is today. As a child, he made up many a tale. Some funny; others dark and brooding, but all started him on the path to writing. Today, his nephew, lovingly referred to as ‘The Monster Child’, is his partner in crime. Most days you will see them playing ball at a nearby park, going for a dip in the backyard pool or snowboarding down a popular mountainside. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Which Blurb is the Best?

Like most writers, I find it challenging to write the logline (or Facebook hook), and pitch or Amazon blurb for my books, and I now have three templates for creating them. Each template has its merits, but I do favor one of them over the others.

When I completed Aquarius Addiction, at the end of 2014, I didn't have a template to use, and now I think the blurb I wrote then was too wordy, so I plan to change it.

I've placed all four of my efforts below and I would love it if readers and other writers would take a look at all of them. Tell me in the comments section below which one you think is the best. As a reward for giving your honest opinion, I'll be happy to share all three templates with you.



1. THE ORIGINAL (NO TEMPLATE)

Logline, One Line Pitch or Facebook Hook


FBI Psychic Arlette Xylander has two goals – to beat death, and have wild passionate sex with Andre Rossouw.

Blurb

Why did hunky Andre Rossouw come into Arlette's life on the same day her doctor told her she was about to die?

Attractive FBI Psychic Arlette Xylander displays all the character traits of her star sign, Aquarius, being feisty, eccentric, freedom-loving, flirtatious, rebellious and unpredictable. She may be only five feet tall, but she epitomizes the old adage that dynamite comes in small packages.

Her emotions rage between denial, anger and tears when her doctor tells her she is suffering from a rare terminal disease. When hunky Andre Rossouw asks her to help find his sister who has been missing for four years, Arlette makes two decisions. To beat the disease and find a cure, and to have wild and passionate sex with him.

Then she finds out he has a fiancée.

Arlette's country home on the banks of Bayou LeGue was left to her by her mysterious aunt Lucie, whom she never met, and whom her dysfunctional parents have never been willing to discuss. She often wakes in the dark hours of the night to hear ghostly voices downstairs, and wishes she could find out who they are and what they want.

A mysterious letter arrives from her aunt, hinting at a secret in the house, and her friend, Reay, agrees to research her home's recorded archives, while Arlette plans to dig into her family history. She starts by visiting her aunt's grave, where she finds a mysterious woman wearing a hooded cloak, who leaves in a hurry. Arlette's instincts tell her the woman holds the answers to all her questions, but how can she find her?


~~~~~~

2. Logline:

FBI psychic Arlette Xylander couldn't predict that her doctor would give her such devastating news on the same day she met the man of her dreams.


Blurb:

Arlette Xylander's aging New Orleans mansion on the bayou is haunted. She wishes she knew what the ghosts were saying, but she's a psychic, not a medium.

She doesn't allow the shattering diagnosis—a death sentence—from her doctor to prevent her from accepting the assignment to use her psychic powers in an attempt to find Andre Rossouw's missing sister.

At the Rossouw farm she and Andre share a passionate kiss. Then she finds out he has a fiancée. It doesn't deter her from placing him—or what she wants to do to him—at the top of her bucket list.

The kidnappers cannot risk being identified. Arlette knows she's getting close to finding the missing girl when she's viciously attacked. What desperate and terrifying lengths will they go to next?  

~~~~~~


3. Logline

FBI Psychic Arlette Xylander meets the man of her dreams on the same day her doctor gives her an earth shattering diagnosis. Will she have time to fulfill her bucket list?

Blurb:

FBI psychic Arlette Xylander accepts the mission to help find Andre Rossouw's missing sister, but her doctor has given her six months to live. Will she be able to complete her quest in that time?

A strong mutual attraction draws her into Andre's arms for a stolen kiss—and then she finds out he has a fiancée. But it doesn't stop her from putting him at the top of her bucket list, and failure is not in Arlette's vocabulary. She is an Aquarius, after all, and true to type—rebellious and independent..

There's only one way you can stop a psychic from getting information, right? A vicious attack tells Arlette she's getting close to revealing the kidnappers' identities, and she has to find the strength and resourcefulness to overcome their terrifying and reckless attempts to thwart her investigation.

Could a mysterious woman wearing a hooded cloak hold the key to a cure for Arlette's disease?

~~~~~~

4. Logline: 

How would you feel if you met the man of your dreams on the same day your doctor said you were dying?

Blurb:

When hunky Andre Rossouw asks FBI psychic Arlette Xylander to help in the search for his missing sister, she puts him at the top of her bucket list—to have hot passionate sex with him, that is. 

She also wants to find the secret hidden in the walls of her aging New Orleans mansion before she dies. The ghosts who meet at her dining room table in the darkest hour of the night probably hold the answer, but she's a psychic, not a medium.

Her quest to find the missing girl brings clues, and the shattering information that Andre has a fiancée.

Tensions escalate when Arlette is viciously attacked, and she wonders if she'll run out of time before fulfilling her quest.

~~~~~~

. . . And just in case you want to buy it, here's the link: https://www.amazon.com/Aquarius-Addiction-Trish-Jackson/dp/1619359618/ 


Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Convenient Marriage by Maggie Tideswell -- Preview

The Story Behind the Story

This is the first post in my new project in which authors talk about the story behind their book and what motivated them to write it. 

My friend and fellow romance author, Maggie Tideswell has a new paranormal romance in the works and I found her explanation of the idea behind the story fascinating. Hope you do too.


Maggie writes:

The idea of two complete strangers getting hitched has always intrigued me, for one simple reason—why would they do such a thing? Could such a relationship succeed? By successful relationship, I understand not only the longevity of the marriage…but is it possible for the participants to actually fall in love with each other in such a strange arrangement? I write romance, after all, and love is found in the most unexpected places.

A Convenient Marriage grew over a number of years. The basic story was simple—a divorcee with two children, an ex-husband being difficult over visitation, as well as a fiancée unable to commit. 

Holly’s friends suggested that she needed a new husband, placing an advertisement in the paper for one behind her back. Joshua was struck by a simple plan when he saw the ad and responded to it. Boring stuff, huh?

The problem was motivation. Why would Holly marry a man she’d never met, and why would Joshua respond to an ad for a husband, then actually propose to a woman he had never clapped eyes on? So, in came the dawdling fiancée, Nicole. Both Holly and Joshua were justified in not planning the marriage to be a real one, because they each had an agenda of their own, but Nicole was the injured party. For their plan to succeed, they had to marry—the real kind, down to that all-important piece of paper married—and they had to seem to be totally in love with each other. Holly needed to be married to take her ex on for custody of her children, while if Joshua wanted to motivate his reluctant fiancée into church, he had to be off limits to Nicole. That would make him very attractive to her again, and maybe she would even set a date for their wedding.

And here comes the ‘but’. Holly and Joshua’s plans go awry from the moment they meet on the steps of the chapel where their fake marriage is to take place, when both recognize the immediate attraction. Back at Joshua’s wine estate—yes, he is a rich landowner where Holly expected him to be a pauper—Holly meets Joshua’s mother, his brother and sister-in-law, and Nicole, the fiancée, who found out about Joshua’s duplicity in a room full of people. No one can blame Nicole for being a tad upset. Or can they? To add to Holly’s woes, she seems to have acquired a ‘ghost’ demanding she tell a story.

Amidst Nicole’s shenanigans, Joshua’s mother’s disapproval, Holly’s ex’s aggression, and the ghost following Holly around, will these two accomplish what they set out to do? Or will life get in the way?

Joshua’s and Holly’s journey through the uncharted seas of a blind marriage, where no rules apply, is a stormy one.


A Convenient Marriage will be published on October 13, 2016.

Maggie Tideswell is a South African author with a passion for romance. All over the world people are falling in love, even the birds and the bees are doing it. Ghosts just can't seem to leave her alone and she combines things that can't be explained, sweaty bodies and rumpled beds in a way that will make your toes curl and your hair stand on end.

Find other books by Maggie on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Maggie-Tideswell/e/B005GJ3DG8

A Convenient Marriage by Maggie Tideswell -- Preview

My friend and fellow romance author, Maggie Tideswell has a new paranormal romance in the works and I found her explanation of the idea behind the story fascinating. Hope you do too.

Maggie writes:

The idea of two complete strangers getting hitched has always intrigued me, for one simple reason—why would they do such a thing? Could such a relationship succeed? By successful relationship, I understand not only the longevity of the marriage…but is it possible for the participants to actually fall in love with each other in such a strange arrangement? I write romance, after all, and love is found in the most unexpected places.

A Convenient Marriage grew over a number of years. The basic story was simple—a divorcee with two children, an ex-husband being difficult over visitation, as well as a fiancée unable to commit. 

Holly’s friends suggested that she needed a new husband, placing an advertisement in the paper for one behind her back. Joshua was struck by a simple plan when he saw the ad and responded to it. Boring stuff, huh?

The problem was motivation. Why would Holly marry a man she’d never met, and why would Joshua respond to an ad for a husband, then actually propose to a woman he had never clapped eyes on? So, in came the dawdling fiancée, Nicole. Both Holly and Joshua were justified in not planning the marriage to be a real one, because they each had an agenda of their own, but Nicole was the injured party. For their plan to succeed, they had to marry—the real kind, down to that all-important piece of paper married—and they had to seem to be totally in love with each other. Holly needed to be married to take her ex on for custody of her children, while if Joshua wanted to motivate his reluctant fiancée into church, he had to be off limits to Nicole. That would make him very attractive to her again, and maybe she would even set a date for their wedding.

And here comes the ‘but’. Holly and Joshua’s plans go awry from the moment they meet on the steps of the chapel where their fake marriage is to take place, when both recognize the immediate attraction. Back at Joshua’s wine estate—yes, he is a rich landowner where Holly expected him to be a pauper—Holly meets Joshua’s mother, his brother and sister-in-law, and Nicole, the fiancée, who found out about Joshua’s duplicity in a room full of people. No one can blame Nicole for being a tad upset. Or can they? To add to Holly’s woes, she seems to have acquired a ‘ghost’ demanding she tell a story.

Amidst Nicole’s shenanigans, Joshua’s mother’s disapproval, Holly’s ex’s aggression, and the ghost following Holly around, will these two accomplish what they set out to do? Or will life get in the way?

Joshua’s and Holly’s journey through the uncharted seas of a blind marriage, where no rules apply, is a stormy one.


A Convenient Marriage will be published on October 13, 2016.

Maggie Tideswell is a South African author with a passion for romance. All over the world people are falling in love, even the birds and the bees are doing it. Ghosts just can't seem to leave her alone and she combines things that can't be explained, sweaty bodies and rumpled beds in a way that will make your toes curl and your hair stand on end.

Find other books by Maggie on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Maggie-Tideswell/e/B005GJ3DG8

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Can You Work Through an Information Dump?

I sometimes have to give up on a book without finishing it. Why? Because I can't read through a long information dump. It's just too boring. 


If you're on Goodreads you will know that your friends can recommend books they've enjoyed. I usually prefer to choose books on my own, but I weakened and downloaded a book that was recommended to me. I thought the blurb and the plot sounded like it would be the kind of book I enjoy. But no. I never found out if the story was any good or not.

What is an information dump?  It's when an author wants to tell you the back story of the characters. This can be done in a few different ways, but one way is for an 'omnipresent third person' (OP3) a.k.a. the author, to tell the story. Another way is to have the characters think back, and the third (and best way in my opinion) is through dialogue.


The problem with the first method is that, apart from the fact that it isn't the way books are supposed to be written these days, we as readers need to become invested in a character before we care about their back story.

I am not going to mention the title or author of this book because it's not my intention to discredit anyone, but the author took the reader through four decades of back story of the four women who have played bridge since they were in their twenties. That's a very large information dump. I hardly knew any of the characters, so it didn't mean anything to me.

As an author, I have probably been guilty of the same thing in the past, but I most definitely won't be in the future. In fact, I'm currently working on 'Fat Girls Rock' and because it is the 4th in a series, (Redneck P.I. Mystery Series) I have to keep giving information about what has happened in the past. I'm doing so by breaking it up and spreading it out as far as I can and using as much dialogue as possible. It's not easy, but I think I'm keeping it credible.

Something to think about.

Can You Work Through an Information Dump?

I sometimes have to give up on a book without finishing it. Why? Because I can't read through a long information dump. It's just too boring. 


If you're on Goodreads you will know that your friends can recommend books they've enjoyed. I usually prefer to choose books on my own, but I weakened and downloaded a book that was recommended to me. I thought the blurb and the plot sounded like it would be the kind of book I enjoy. But no. I never found out if the story was any good or not.

What is an information dump?  It's when an author wants to tell you the back story of the characters. This can be done in a few different ways, but one way is for an 'omnipresent third person' (OP3) a.k.a. the author, to tell the story. Another way is to have the characters think back, and the third (and best way in my opinion) is through dialogue.


The problem with the first method is that, apart from the fact that it isn't the way books are supposed to be written these days, we as readers need to become invested in a character before we care about their back story.

I am not going to mention the title or author of this book because it's not my intention to discredit anyone, but the author took the reader through four decades of back story of the four women who have played bridge since they were in their twenties. That's a very large information dump. I hardly knew any of the characters, so it didn't mean anything to me.

As an author, I have probably been guilty of the same thing in the past, but I most definitely won't be in the future. In fact, I'm currently working on 'Fat Girls Rock' and because it is the 4th in a series, (Redneck P.I. Mystery Series) I have to keep giving information about what has happened in the past. I'm doing so by breaking it up and spreading it out as far as I can and using as much dialogue as possible. It's not easy, but I think I'm keeping it credible.

Something to think about.

Can You Work Through an Information Dump?

I sometimes have to give up on a book without finishing it. Why? Because I can't read through a long information dump. It's just too boring. 


If you're on Goodreads you will know that your friends can recommend books they've enjoyed. I usually prefer to choose books on my own, but I weakened and downloaded a book that was recommended to me. I thought the blurb and the plot sounded like it would be the kind of book I enjoy. But no. I never found out if the story was any good or not.

What is an information dump?  It's when an author wants to tell you the back story of the characters. This can be done in a few different ways, but one way is for an 'omnipresent third person' (OP3) a.k.a. the author, to tell the story. Another way is to have the characters think back, and the third (and best way in my opinion) is through dialogue.


The problem with the first method is that, apart from the fact that it isn't the way books are supposed to be written these days, we as readers need to become invested in a character before we care about their back story.

I am not going to mention the title or author of this book because it's not my intention to discredit anyone, but the author took the reader through four decades of back story of the four women who have played bridge since they were in their twenties. That's a very large information dump. I hardly knew any of the characters, so it didn't mean anything to me.


As an author, I have probably been guilty of the same thing in the past, but I most definitely won't be in the future. In fact, I'm currently working on 'Fat Girls Rock' and because it is the 4th in a series, (Redneck P.I. Mystery Series) I have to keep giving information about what has happened in the past. I'm doing so by breaking it up and spreading it out as far as I can and using as much dialogue as possible. It's not easy, but I think I'm keeping it credible.

Something to think about.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Goodreads Giveaways

I'm giving away two print copies this week on Goodreads.

Capricorn Cravings:

Riley Shaughnessy has the perfect life. Her veterinary practice is thriving, and she loves living in the small town in the Colorado mountains, where no one knows the shocking secret of her past. She loves to gallop her palomino mare across the vast expanse of public land bordering the town, and after a long period of self-denial, she has even committed to a date with handsome horse wrangler, Randy Hansen. 

But now, she knows her assistant, Jamie, would never willingly abandon her child, so why has she disappeared? 

Something dark and sinister is taking place, and it all started on the day hunky Powell Stewart, with the piercing blue eyes, came into her life in a strange and unexpected way. 

Her inner voice tells her to stay as far away from him as she can, but his magnetism drags her toward him and she cannot find the power to resist. 



Click here to enter: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/190753-capricorn-cravings


Aquarius Addiction:

Why did hunky Andre Rossouw come into Arlette's life on the same day her doctor told her she was about to die? 

Attractive FBI Psychic Arlette Xylander displays all the character traits of her star sign, Aquarius, being feisty, eccentric, freedom-loving, flirtatious, rebellious and unpredictable. She may be only five feet tall, but she epitomizes the old adage that dynamite comes in small packages. 

Her emotions rage between denial, anger and tears when her doctor tells her she is suffering from a rare terminal disease. When hunky Andre Rossouw asks her to help find his sister who has been missing for four years, Arlette makes two decisions. To beat the disease and find a cure, and to have wild and passionate sex with him. 

Then she finds out he has a fiancée. 



Click here to enter: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/190752-aquarius-addiction

Good luck to all of you.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Scorpio's Sting -- an excerpt



I'm very happy that Soul Mate Publishing accepted my fourth novel in the Zodiac Series this week. I know it's good--my best work so far. I posted an excerpt on my website here, and below a different one:


CHAPTER 21
 Drew scrutinized his fellow cell mates. What a ragged group of sorry looking specimens of humanity. Friday night, that's why it's so full. Everyone was out drinking. The benches were all taken, and the late-comers had to sit on the concrete floor. He guardedly picked his way through them, careful not to bump into anyone, until he was in a small space of his own. A man puked to the left of him and he moved away. The stink of stale alcohol, vomit and unwashed bodies threatened to overpower him, and he found another space, and swallowed hard to keep the bile down. 

This is a gross injustice. He fingered the wound on his cheek and looked down at his shirt—blood-spattered and dirt-stained, and one sleeve was torn.

His grimace was mistaken for a smile. “Nothin’ to smile about in here.” A short, thickset man stood on his right, with gray, wispy hair and an unkempt salt and pepper beard. The steely blue eyes seemed out of place in the sun-beaten, weathered face. “You been fightin’, too.” the man shook his head disapprovingly. “Name’s Nate,” he held out a hand.

That's all I need. Some drunk dude wants to be my friend. Can't he see I'm not in a friendly mood? Reluctantly, he wiped his hand on his pants and took the man's hand, feeling the steel in his grip.

“Drew. How you doing?”

“Been here before?”

“No.”

“My third time. Cop recognized me from a previous conviction. Nothing big. They'll let me go tomorrow so long as I agree to be one of their snitches again. I know the drill.” He paused to allow Drew to speak, but Drew only grunted and turned his head away.

She doesn’t love me anymore. She hates me. Do I still love her? Don’t know the answer. I thought I still had a tiny bit of love for her left, but after what she's done, I don't know anymore. How does that happen? How can you love a person so much and then lose it all?

Drew eased himself onto the floor, trying to ignore the pain in his back, joints and muscles—not to mention his face. His head pounded and he wished he could take a couple of Advils. He leaned against the wall with his knees up in front of him. The cold concrete floor numbed his butt.

Nate followed him. He talked a lot. "I was in ‘Nam. EOD. Explosives Ordnance Disposal if you don't know what that is. Bomb and landmine detection and disposal is what my job description was, but I also learned how to blow things up.

“You don’t wanna know the things went on out there. I seen some real bad things, you know. Children, I seen kids killed by our own men, and women. I burned down the villages of innocents so they’d have nothing to go back to. It was real hard for me to come to terms with, so I used drugs to escape from the reality of it. Hell, the most of us did. Time I was there is all a daze now, but I can’t forget the killin’, can’t forget the wounded, screamin’ for help, their guts spillin’ out in the dirt, and the stink of death, all around. The flies. The fear gnawing at your belly every time you move, couldn’t even take a shit in the bushes without bein’ in fear for your life. Got wounded,” he patted his thigh, “and they brought me back here.

"Wife had found another man, asked for a divorce..." Drew tuned him out. He had to find out more about Escorpio.

The man finally seemed to run out of words. In a low voice, Drew asked him, "Have you ever heard of an underground organization made up of people who want to take the drug cartels down? Its name is something like Escorpio—Scorpio, like the star sign." He held out his wrist so Nate could see the tattoo. They had taken his watch away when he was booked.

Nate glanced around, and then stared at him with wide eyes. "Don't be messing with those drug dudes, man," he whispered quietly, and made the sign of the cross on his chest with his hand. "They're just as dangerous as the mob. Narcos are all bad. They will kill you in a heartbeat if they find you've even been thinking about that. Don't ask me again. You might have a death wish, but I don't, and they have ears everywhere." He held Drew's gaze until Drew dropped his eyes. 

The question seemed to have changed his attitude and he and curled up on the floor a little way off, and was soon snoring quietly.

Time passed minute by agonizing minute. Most of the others in the cell were either asleep or had passed out. A couple of them were snoring. Drew was almost dozing off, but he jerked awake when he picked up a word in the whispered conversation nearby. He held his breath, ignoring the pounding, throbbing headache.

One of the two Hispanic men was staring at his wrist. At the tattoo. He saw Drew had noticed, and glared at him.

Drew moved closer and leaned in. He whispered in Spanish, "El Escorpion es venenosa y muy peligrosa." (The scorpion is very dangerous.)

One of the men cursed him under his breath.

"Listen," Drew whispered in Spanish. "My son was murdered by the Vibora de Coral Cartel. Me igo. Muerte. I want to know more. You see the scorpion tattoo on my wrist, so you know you can confide in me."

The two men stared at him. One of them glanced around as if to make certain no-one else had heard. "Las paredes." (The walls.) He covered his face with his hood.

"Tienen oídos," Drew said under his breath. (Have ears.)

The man whispered through the fabric of his hood, "El doce de Octobre—October 12th."

Drew heard his name being called from outside the cell. He wished he could talk more with these guys. He dug into his pants pocket and found a crumpled piece of one of his business cards. It had his name and the business' name on it. He threw it at the feet of the two men, and then pushed his way to the front of the cell.

They loaded him and several others into a van, and placed them in a small holding cell at the court house, where his attorney found him.

"Brian, I'm sorry."

Brian screwed up his forehead and peered at Drew's face. "What's going on, Drew? What's with all the damage to your face? And the blood on your shirt and all over. You're a mess, man. What did you do to Wendy? I can't believe it."

Turmoil. The fortune teller—Neelie—said everything would get screwed up. What is she? Some kind of witch, and she's put a spell on me?

"Drew, are you listening?"
"Sorry, Brian. I didn't get any sleep last night."
(To be continued in the book)

Copyright (C) Trish Jackson, 2016 
Grab a free download of the prologue, Neelie's Story here:
 http://www.trishjackson.com/#!blank/akxix

Monday, May 16, 2016

FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME

I'm taking advantage of KDP Select's five day free option and offering a FREE download of my psychological thriller SHEER PANIC from May 15th through May 19th only. 


This is a novella and is only 112 pages. Please feel free to hop over to Amazon and you'll see it is priced at $0.00. (You'll need an Amazon account, which is free.) Click on 'Buy Now' and if you don't have a Kindle, Amazon will lead you through it. They have apps that will allow you to read Kindle files on your PC or tablet or phone.

It's kind of a mix between dark and sweet, which is what I like to do. Just when things seem to be all bad, something uplifting takes place. And of course, I like to feature animals.




What would you do if someone came into your house and moved your stuff while you were sleeping? Breanna Benton's denial morphs into terror when she finally has to accept the truth, but which one of the three men who harass her is the stalker? 

The maintenance man at college makes her edgy and uneasy when he accosts her with inappropriate comments; Dorky Dorian seems to be following her everywhere she goes, and it troubles her to think he may have tampered with her car; hunky Joaquim at the stables where she keeps her horse takes his flirting to a new level, awakening terrifying and exciting emotions all the way to her core, but did he copy her house keys? 

And then Lance, the boy she had a crush on at high school friends her on Facebook. He never noticed her before. She's ecstatic, but a little scared. 

She draws comfort from the only stabilizing factors in her life—her niece, Shari, and the elderly neighbor Mrs. Stanley and her dog, Panda. 


Here's the link:  Sheer Panic

  

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Suspense vs Mystery

Back in the day identifying a fiction book genre was simple. The choices were limited to romance, suspense, mystery, comedy, historical, western, etc. Most were identified with one word. Now, it is almost impossible to classify a book's genre using only one word, as so many sub-categories have been created, originally to facilitate search engine keywords.

A lot of people don't seem to know the difference between a suspense thriller and a mystery, so here it is:

In suspense, the reader knows what the bad guy (antagonist) is up to before the protagonist knows. The reader's inside knowledge that someone is lying in ambush waiting for the unsuspecting character creates suspense.  The actual ambush makes it a thriller.

In a mystery, the reader only knows what the primary characters know. If they're hunting for a clue, you don't know where they may find it, and if someone is going to ambush them, you won't know until it happens.

My Redneck P.I. Mystery Series are romantic mystery/comedies.



My Zodiac Series are romantic suspense/thrillers.


Animals always play an important part.

FREE downloads for Kindle or you computer -- http://www.trishjackson.com/#!free-stuff/cjci

Friday, April 29, 2016

Is it Really Necessary to Create an Outline for Your Novel?

James Patterson, most successful author of our time is so struck on outlines that he devotes two chapters to them in his online writing class.


The problem is, I'm a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. In other words, I sit down at a computer and start writing, and the characters tell me the story.

I do not plot and I do not outline.

But James Patterson. He's not someone one should ignore, right? After listening to what he had to say, I went back to my novel, Virgo's Vice,  which was in the editing phase with my publisher, and created a belated outline. Surprisingly (to me), it helped me see more than one flaw with my story and I was able to make big improvements.

I stopped working on the next novel, Scorpio's Sting, which was in my pre-submission editing phase, and went back and created an outline. It helped me to see several problem areas. In particular, the timeline. The outline made it easy to find events that were in the wrong order.  It also helped me to identify (and delete) chapters that did not move the story forward, because we all know every chapter must do that or it isn't needed.

Next, I started writing "Fat Girls Rock," the fourth book in my Redneck P.I. Mystery Series. I tried to start with an outline. I swear I gave it a lot of thought, but nothing came. No inspiration. Zilch. It stayed unwritten. I ended up writing a one-page synopsis, and allowed myself to start writing the story. The lack of an outline nagged at me, and the writing dragged. The dreaded unmentionable thing loomed. Writer's Block.

This past Monday I had some time on my hands and I told myself "To hell with it, I'm just gonna write." And guess what? The story was all there in my head and today, Friday, the entire first draft is completed. Now I can create an outline.

I guess we're all different and what works for one, just doesn't do anything for another. That's what I tell myself, anyhow.

Here's the rough draft of my first few paragraphs. I still have to go back and make changes, add more emotion, and enhance the descriptions, but it is such a blast to write this kind of stuff.

FAT GIRLS ROCK
Trish Jackson

CHAPTER 1

Big Bart stomped his feet on the mat and strode in through the door with his brindle Pitbull, Sadie, and Benjamin, the dog he rescued from the dog fighting ring. He wore leathers, and a red, white and blue bandanna wrapped around his head. His biker boots made a loud clipping sound on the old wooden floors.
Several of his biker gang members trudged in behind him, all wearing their leather jackets with 'Justice Enforcers' on the back. They nodded at us and headed for the bar.


My dog Stretch stood up from under my legs, stretched, and stuck his nose into Sadie's ass.
Bart stopped at our table. "Well, if it ain't the fat girls' club." He clamped an oversized hand on my shoulder and I stared at the cut-off black leather glove before I glared at him through narrowed eyes.
"Who are you calling fat? I'm not fat, and neither is LaMercy or Ena." Fat is a word that's always made me bristle, and if it was anyone other than Bart, I would probably have done something physical to him.
He held up his hands, palms facing me. "Oh, no. Don’t get me wrong, Twila. Fat is good. What man doesn't like a little padding? I meant it in a good way." His gaze strayed from my boobs, to Ena's and then to LaMercy's. "You ladies all got curves where women are supposed to have 'em," he growled in his deep bass voice. "Fat girls rock, man."
I was at a loss for words. Luckily, Stretch took the attention away from us when Sadie snapped at him and he whined and licked her face.
"Yeah, good girl. You don’t need anyone sticking their cold nose there, do you?" Bart rasped. He turned toward the bar. "What's a man got to do to get a drink around here?" he said to Gasser, who was standing behind the counter serving the others, with an annoying grin on his face.
"Coming right up," he said, and slid a 24 oz glass of draft beer across the pitted wooden counter top. Bart grabbed it and swallowed half of it down in one gulp. 
As usual, Jimmie Lewis, the town drunk stood in the corner propping up the bar, and Lilly Belle Groat, the town mattress, who looks like the back side of a bus, sat beside him.
"Maybe we have put on some pounds," LaMercy, always the practical one said. She was staring at me.
"Yeah, but fat. That's a big word," Ena said. 
I took a hard look at my two companions. They actually had put on some weight, and I hadn't really noticed before.
We all stared at Bart's ass as he crossed the room to join the others at the pool tables.
"That is one heck of a man," Ena, the only one of us who was truly single said. "No fat there."
I knew LaMercy was thinking it too, and so was I. He was one hell of a piece of male flesh.
Gasser, with his coffee-colored skin and dreads stepped around from behind the bar, pulled out a chair at our table, and dropped into it. He still had that irritating grin on his face that meant one of two things. Either he had just farted or he thought something was amusing.
I sniffed, and didn’t detect anything. "What do you think is so funny?" I asked.
"Fat girls' club," he glanced across at Bart to make certain he couldn't hear, and burst out laughing.

Best-Seller Hopes for Authors

Almost every writer has a dream about breaking out—or achieving best-seller status. Many of us think it's an impossibility, but recently I read something to change all of that.



I joined Romance Writers of America (RWA), and one of the two significant positives I've gained from belonging to the organization is their monthly magazine. In the March issue, five authors who have recently broken out are interviewed. The crazy thing—no one author could offer a single specific strategy that caused her book to break out.
Brenda Novak says she didn't do anything particularly different with Trust Me, her seventh single title.
Robyn Carr broke out with her 25th novel, Virgin River Christmas, 30 years after selling her first book. She had embarked on an aggressive marketing promotion when she started her Virgin River series, but she didn't do anything to focus on that particular book, the 4th in the series.
Susan Mallery broke out 16 years after her first book was published with Accidentally Yours. She didn't do anything different to promote it, but attributes her success in part to likeable characters.
Marie Force's 25th published book, Waiting for Love was book eight in the Gansett Island Series. She self-published the book, and spent a lot of time building a Facebook following. She believes the world she has created in the series is what readers responded to.
Kristan Higgins made the best-seller list with her fourth book, Too Good to be True.
The information I got from all five interviews was this:
―You must keep writing. Like everything else, it takes practice to hone the craft.
―Create likeable and memorable characters.
―If the setting is unforgettable, readers will want to visit it again.
―Most importantly it is the readers who make your book a best-seller.

If you write romance, it probably wouldn't hurt to read all of their books and learn from them. Even if you don't write romance, I hope if you are an author, you'll find this info useful and accept that writing a best-seller takes time and experience.